Pep Guardiola turned to 17-year-old striker Liam Delap, making his Premier League debut, to try to stem the tide as Manchester City slumped to a 5-2 home defeat by Leicester.
And while that was a remarkable vote of confidence in the youngster – who scored on his first appearance for the Blues in the Carabao Cup on Thursday – it was also a bold gamble.
Guardiola took off veteran midfielder Fernandinho, whose passing and control had given City much of their early dominance in the game, and so abandoned the double pivot which served the team so well at Wolves last week.
Delap is a 6ft 1in, physical specimen and he hit the bar with a header, but Guardiola explained why he made that change.
And he said that after taking Fernandinho off, he had detailed Kyle Walker to pick up Fernandinho’s defensive job of stopping Harvey Barnes from getting a run on goal.
Asked why he had turned to Delap, Guardiola said: “To put one player in the box with a good presence and a good header and stay there.
“It was not easy because they had three centre halfs on the penalty spot. And with Kyle, to control Barnes as he had done many times, instead of Dinho.”
The move did not work. The teams were tied at 1-1 when Fernandinho went off in the 51 minute, and within seven minutes they were 3-1 down.
Chasing the game, they then conceded a fourth before Nathan Ake bagged hs first City goal to give a faint glimmer of hope which was crushed by Youri Tielemans’ late penalty.